As day three of Destiny’s release comes to a close the Power Up Gaming team have gathered to collude their thoughts for a final time. Day one saw us praise everything Destiny does right. Controls, lore, art style, pacing, balance: they are all some of the best in the business. We’re still finding new things to appreciate every day; and suspect we will continue to for many weeks to come. The distance of day two gave us the chance to peel Destiny apart much more critically. What we ended up with was a game that was in no sense perfect. We scrutinized enemy AI and cast the future of Destiny’s PvP facilities into serious doubt. Yet not for one second did any of us suggest these were deal breakers.
Today, we feel the most pertinent question is this: Will Destiny last? It’s all well and good saying Destiny is a very, very good game. But even the best of games can lose their sparkle after time. Put simply, we wonder if Destiny holds the gravity to entice players past the story’s end credits.
Destiny is a bold symbiosis of two very different genres – the PC MMO and AAA console FPS. Successful translation necessitated concessions on either side. Those sitting firmly in either camp will both find major disappointments. In one sense, Destiny is a curtailed MMO. In another, Destiny lacks elements that many console gamers have come to expect.
As an MMO, Destiny lacks depth. End game grinds in the MMOs Destiny so clearly takes cues from are driven by the need to procure the very best load-out and conquer the toughest bosses. Weapon and armour upgrades are limited and extremely stringent. In the title’s 2013 E3 debut Bungie proudly touted the game’s random weapon generation system, claiming no two weapons would be the same. This is not exactly the case. Attribute boosts are the only elements which occasionally distinguish weapon models. Even model names and colours are identical. Titles like Borderlands leave Destiny’s system paling in comparison. There exists too little to make a player’s load-out unique.
The good news is that Destiny has ultra-tough bosses on tap. We fondly traded stories of countless deaths at the hands of seemingly indestructible strike bosses. The revelation that we only faced these maniacal foes on one of the lower difficulty settings was as demoralizing as it was exciting. We couldn’t wait to return at higher levels to once again face these tormenting demons. By large, we agreed player customisation wasn’t all it could be. Thankfully, Destiny’s bosses are present to pick up the slack. Watching the monstrosity that just swept away the last two hours of our lives finally bite the dust lays claim to an intensely cathartic sense of satisfaction. Only the very best of MMOs capture this feeling. With the prospect of expansion packs bringing even tougher bosses in the coming months, Destiny gives its players just enough reason to keep their skills well honed.
As a AAA FPS Destiny could be said to lack production values. For all the momentum Peter Dinklage’s attachment to the project created, the story is flat. While lavish by MMO standards, more casual gamers concerned solely with the instant gratification of a complete story might feel cheated. A fine eye might say texture quality is lacking. The majority of the team, however, failed even to notice this. Destiny overshadows any graphical mediocrity with an inspired command of vibrant colours. A mere year is all it takes for most games to look outdated. We are certain that Destiny, unlike so many games, will continue to look visually groundbreaking for years to come. Most importantly, however, Destiny just feels right. Controls are precise. Every shot, every hit connects. Every kill is won. Every death is deserved. Nothing is cheap. Unintended barriers between the player and gameplay are nowhere to be found.
Destiny is an extremely ambitious game. That Bungie can be considered to have succeeded by any metric is an impressive feat in itself. Yes, there are issues. But anyone who bought Destiny simultaneously expecting the best FPS and best MMO they will ever play has only cheated themselves. There is enough here to keep dedicated players entertained for a long time. We can’t see any of Destiny’s flaws getting in the way of this. Destiny has legs, that’s for sure. Expect to see the title plastered under Gamer Tags, PSN IDs and Steam names for months to come.